Shashi Tharoor-led parliamentary panel questions Twitter India officials

The representatives were to address queries about ways to prevent misuse of the microblogging platform

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The parliamentary committee is led by Shashi Tharoor, senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP.

Two representatives of Twitter India appeared before a parliamentary standing committee  on Friday (June 18) evening,  to address queries about ways to prevent misuse of the microblogging platform.

The committee, led by Shashi Tharoor, senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP from Thiruvananthapuram, was to question the Twitter representatives and  officials of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeiTY) on steps taken by the former to prevent people from misusing social media.

The meeting was to hear the opinions of Twitter representatives and discuss safeguarding each citizen’s rights. The panel also aims to find ways of stopping the exploitation of social media or online news media platforms. Discussions on emphasising the security of women in the digital space will take place as well.

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Government vs Twitter

The government has locked horns with Twitter ever since the social media giant labelled tweets by BJP politicians as ‘manipulated media’.

The Uttar Pradesh police department also filed an FIR against Twitter for its alleged inaction against tweets about the assault of an elderly Muslim man in Ghaziabad district on June 5. Twitter, along with several journalists and Congress leaders, were accused of provoking communal sentiments in the FIR.

News reports said talks about the Centre’s decision to ask Twitter to comply with amended IT rules would also take place at the Friday meeting. The Information Technology (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, listed out ethics and suggested a method to manage inappropriate content on social media and digital news platforms.

Under the new rules, social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook would have to reveal the origin of any post a court or government authority wishes to examine. Criticising the new regulations, Twitter had termed it a ‘potential threat’ to freedom of expression in India. On June 5, the Centre had sent a final notice to Twitter to comply with the new rules.

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